IAG plans long-haul flights from Barcelona in 2017

IAG subsidiary Iberia has the potential to launch the new routes

British Airways and Iberia owners IAG (International Airlines Group) are planning on launching flights from Barcelona to US detinations in June next year. This comes as a response to the increasing competition from low-cost carriers on transatlantic routes.

Norwegian Air Shuttle is planning on introducing flights to the US from Barcelona in 2017, initially serving Newark, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale and Oakland. Barcelona is currently a base for Norwegian as well as IAG carrier Vueling, which will be used to feed passengers onto the flights.

The group has not decided whether it will use resources from one of the current airlines or set up a new one. “Barcelona has become a significant airport hub and we believe that there is a demand for these flights from El Prat,” IAG said in an emailed statement.

The possible destinations are Santiago de Chile, Havana, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires and San Francisco.

CAPA Centre for Aviation said that this looks like a response to Norwegians new flights. “Plans by the low-cost carrier Norwegian to launch long-haul routes from Barcelona in 2017 may have had a catalytic effect on IAG’s thinking,” they said.



Condor 767 simulator catches fire in office building at Frankfurt Airport

Copyright: Frank Rumpenhorst

On Thursday, a flight simulator caught fire in an office building at Frankfurt airport. There were 200 people in the building when it was evacuated. One person was taken to hospital after smoke inhalation. The fire was extinguished within 45 minutes of it starting.

The simulator contained a replica of a 767 passenger cabin, used to train cabin crew. Technical fault was most likely to blame for the accident.


New Omani LCC sets new launch date

Image by Salam Air

Originally planned to begin operations in mid-December, the new Omani LCC will now start operations in 1Q2017. The first flight will take off on Monday, January 30 next year. The first route will be Muscat-Salalah, while international flights to Dubai will begin on February 15.

Flights will be operated using 3 A320s leased from the LATAM Airlines Group.

Iberia Regional and Vueling add Barcelona – Valencia flights

Photo by Ismael C.

In March 2017, Iberia will launch a new route between Barcelona and Valencia. The route will be operated by Air Nostrum using their CRJ900. The route will operate twice-weekly starting March 10 and then increase to 5 weekly service from March 27, not flying on weekend.

Schedule from airlineroute:

IB8836 BCN0730 – 0825VLC CR9 x67
IB8835 VLC0855 – 0945BCN CR9 x67

Vueling will also operate this route, with 6 weekly flights starting March 10, and daily from March 27:

BCN1655 – 1755VLC A320 D

VLC1830 – 1925BCN A320 D 

Pegasus Airlines to secure PIA 737 wet-lease contract 

PIA – Pakistan International Airlines is in talks with Pegasus Airlines over the proposed wet-lease of four B737-800s, Pakistan aviation officials have told the SriLankaMirror news site.

A Pegasus B737-800. Copyright: Marco Blume/aircraftspotting.de
A team from the Turkish carrier was in Pakistan last week for talks concerning the proposed contract.

Documents seem by ch-aviation indicate that Pegasus’ proposal, which is about the wet-lease of msn 40722, 40876, 40697 and 40720, was names as the preferred bid, followed by Corendon Airlines with the lease of three B737-800s, Travel Services with the lease of one B737-800, AtlasGlobal with the lease of two A320-200s and Bulgaria Air with the lease of two A320-200s.

Bids from Travel Service for one B737-900(ER) and one B737-800 and one from ASL Airlines were rejected owing to incomplete documentation.

The opening of the new Berlin Airport has been delayed once again

The opening of Berlin’s new Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport has been further delayed to spring 2018, marking the project’s latest delay.

The airport was originally set to open in 2011, but cost overruns and errors in the construction process have caused repeated delays. Latest estimates have been for a late 2017 opening, but an airport spokesperson said an announcement for the exact date would be made in January.

Germany’s biggest carrier Lufthansa had described a winter 2017 start-up date for the terminal as “unsuitable,” instead suggesting that 2018 is more realistic. The project plan is for a €5.4 billion new terminal in the southeast of the city to operate alongside the city’s Schönefeld Airport.

After the opening of the new airport, Berlin Tegel, the airport in the northwest of the German capital, will close.

Cargo carriers likely to leave Brussels airport over new noise restrictions

Simgapore Airlines Cargo, Air Cargo Global and Asiana Airlines have indicated their intentions to move cargo operations away from Brussels National-Zaventem if plans to enforce  tough new noise restrictions go ahead.

A Singapore Airlines Cargo 747-400F in Brussels National-Zaventem. Copyright: Peter Bakema on wikimedia

Two carriers have already decided to leave, with Saudia heading to Frankfurt, and Yangtze River Airlines moving to Amsterdam.

The new regulations are due to come into effect on March 1, 2017. Additionally, excesses will no longer be tolerated from January 1, with severe fines for every infraction.

Citizen gourds say that the airport is too close to the city for the number of flights it currently handles. In November 2016, Brussels National (BRU) has handled almost 35,000 tonnes of cargo on 1,341 flights. Total cargo for the January-November period is up 4.4% on the same period last year.

Airport CEO Arnaud Feist claims that the airfield will lose 25% of its freight activity due to the new regulations while passenger airlines will also be negatively affected.

“With the end of tolerances, not only will night flights not be carried out, but standards will be so strict that many day flights will be condemned as well,” Belgium’s Luchtzak news quoted Feist as saying. “Brussels Airlines’ A320s will no longer be able to take off between 6 and 7 am. When the day comes that this Belgian airline is fined between EUR5,000 and EUR10,000, I do not think that the parent company Lufthansa will be amused and this will not help us to keep Brussels Airlines’ business in Brussels.”

Also, spokeswoman Nathalie Van Impe adds that removing freight from the airport would be “economic and social suicide”.

Investigators say faulty flaps are probably to blame in the Tu-154 crash

The investigators have analyzed the data from the black box they’ve recovered from the Black Sea.

The Tu-154B-2, RA-85572, involved in the accident. Copyright: Alexander Usanov on wikimedia

This analysis has revealed that faulty flaps could be the cause for the crash.
According to the pro-Kremlin Life news website the flaps did not retract in sync causing the pilots to lose control of the aircraft as it was at a “critical angle”.

The Life also quoted the crew’s last words, including: “The flaps, hell… !”

The latest findings allegedly come from a cockpit conversation stored on the flight’s main “black box” data recorder, which was found underwater about a mile from the shore.
An earlier audio recording, played on Russian media, said to be of the final conversation between air traffic controllers and the plane’s crew, revealed no sign of difficulties.

But Life, a new site which is close to the Russian security agencies, issued a transcript of the cockpit recording taken from the “black box”, indicating the two pilots were taken by surprise.

These were the pilots’ last words:

  • “Speed 300 (inaudible)”
  • “(Inaudible).”
  • “I’ve pulled in the landing gear, commander.”
  • “(Inaudible).”
  • “Oh bloody hell!”

Piercing alarm sounds

  • “The flaps, hell, what a…!”
  • “The altimeter!”
  • “We’re in… (inaudible).”

Alarm sounds about dangerous proximity to the ground

  • “(Inaudible).”
  • “Commander we’re falling!”

 A second flight recorder has been recovered in good condition and raised from the seabed on Wednesday, the defense ministry said.

Only fifteen bodies have been recovered so far out of the total of 92 fatalities.